Birthing At Home
is old school
for a new generation

Birthing at home is an old birthing method but more and more couples decide to pick their living rooms for the birth of their child.

This article is for those who are considering to have a home birth and need some extra research and reassurance.

What is home birth?

Planned home birth is a natural childbirth that happens at home. It is an alternative to industrialized birth or “disturbed birth” at the hospital.

There are few types of home births:

  • planned and unplanned
  • attended by a midwife,
  • attended by physicians
  • unassisted home births - freebirths (without a midwife or any other professional supervision)

Barely 1% of American woman give births at home, comparing to 30% of mothers in Netherlands who are birthing at home. And yet, surprisingly (not), their infant and maternal mortality rates are one of the lowest in the world.

Who does that?

Not uneducated, not poor, crazy or brave people. Actually, home births are common among educated, over 30 years old women who spent a lot of time researching about it and make strong decisions.

It's not only you and me who think that home birth is the safest place to give birth. In fact, some celebrities do too.

To mention some who gave births at home:

Birthing at home

Image capture from Most Beautiful Home Birth Video

Home Birth Celebrities

1. Julianne Moore

2. Jennifer Connelly

3. Cindy Crawford

4. Gisele Bundchen

5. Alyson Hannigan

6. Pamela Anderson

7. Meryl Streep

8. Demi Moore

Why do they do that?

There is big misconception about why women birth at home. Many times critics of homebirths are claiming that those women are only doing it for the experience with candles, meditation and helpful husbands who are ready to do anything.

While this is true - the experience and mother's feelings do come in into helping to birth better, but I think the biggest reason why women are birthing at home is not because of the candles, and comfort of their homes. It’s because they did the research and know that home births:

  • have less medical interventions,
  • have similar perinatal mortality rates
  • women have less chance to have infections, hemorrhage, lacerations.

Preparing For a Home Birth

One of the first things many woman do when they start preparing for a home birth - take a childbirth education class. This is by far the best preparation method, that saves you a lot of time and plus you get all in one package deal.

The classes teach you everything starting from healthy pregnancy till best birthing positions and techniques to have easier and less painful birth. My 2 favorite classes are:

1. Birth Boot Camp online education course

2. The Pink Kit

Finding a midwife can be a tough one, depending on where you live. There are different laws in different states, so some midwives may not even be legal in your state.

You don't have to re-decorate, re-paint (even some couples do), add a new room to your house just because you give birth in it. However, there are few essential things you must to prior a home birth.

Do you want your children to be in the room during labor and birth? It is a good idea to prepare them for it. Birth is a miracle and it is very overwhelming for children. Follow few easy steps to get kids ready for a home birth show!

And more:

Benefits of birthing at home

1. The biggest advantage of birthing at home is having more chances to have a natural birth. While you can still have natural birth at the hospital or birth center, home birth is definitely the easiest way to have a natural birth.

2. Giving birth at home is as safe as giving birth in the hospital (if not safer) for low risk mothers who are healthy and prepared for the birth. (look for Home Birth research below)

3. You can drink, eat, move, dance, use your birthing ball, get in the shower or birthing tub, make all kinds of noises, use different natural birth methods.

4. When you are birthing at home you are allowing for labor to go on naturally, with no medical interventions.

5. Home atmosphere allows you to relax, be stress free and enjoy the process of labor.

6. When you birth at home - you are your own boss, it is easier to listen to your body and progress the labor. 

7. Birthing at home allows you to invite only the people you want to be around. It can be anybody who will support you and will make you feel better. Have your older children there, your mother, your best friend. Or you may prefer to be alone.

8. After giving birth you don’t have to go anywhere. You enjoy the comfort of your bed.

Your shower is there too. And most likely your will have breakfast in your bed the next morning.

9. Studies show that the risk of infection is reduced for both the mother and the baby.

10. Most mothers who birth at home have a midwife and a doula during birth. They pick them because those women believe in them and do whatever they can to help mothers give healthy natural births. They are always on-call. Their shifts don’t change.

11. The bonding after birth happens much easier when it’s at home which leads to a secure infant attachment and more successful breastfeeding experience.

12. Home birth is cheaper and it might be still covered by your insurance. Check with your insurance to see what what guidelines do they have in order to cover home birth expenses.

13. Home birth allows you to feel normal, natural and powerful. You feel and you are treated not as patient with extremely dangerous disease.

14. When are birthing at home, your baby will not have to wear an alarmed bracelet (like a prisoner), so no one would steal him from the hospital. I say this from my own experience! When my son was born in US, Georgia, nurses put a bracelet on his tiny ankle and while we were transferring from birthing room to a regular room the alarm went off (very loud!) because we entered the wrong room. 1 hour after my son was born I had to prove hospital security that "HE IS MY SON". This was a big reason for us to change our mind on hospital births.

What is birthing at home statistics?

The statistics is not great, but it is getting better because the percentage of women who give births at home in U.S. increased by 29% from 2004 to 2009.

Source: Home Births in the United States, 1990–2009

If you are wondering where women have home births most, here is the % of women birthing at home by state in U.S.

Source: Home Births in the United States, 1990–2009

Who attends home births? Here is percentage of home births by birth attendant.

Source: Home Births in the United States, 1990–2009


 Birth by the Numbers

This is an extra video of Orgasmic Birth DVD. Have you watched it yet?

This video is about neonatal rates (infant deaths in first 28 days) in U.S. and how it compares to other countries. (You will be surprised where U.S. stands). Eugene R. Declerq, PhD (the creator of the video) will explain the reasons of high infant death rates and why do actually mothers have C-sections (to my surprise, it's not because they request it).

Anyway, this video is full of sobering statistics of birth in the United States including some facts about home births as well (at the end of the video). 

Home Birth Research

The more you know - the better decisions you can make about your birth choices. So spend a lot of time researching and finding different information about home births. This includes:

1. Exploring the scientific research

Home Birth Research Guide 2012 will provide you with many studies and other annotated literature for you to ‘dig in’. This is the best list of available scientific resources about planned home births and maternal fetal outcomes.

2. Reading home birth stories

3. Talking to other women who had home births and asking many questions to a trusted and experienced midwife or other care provider.

When to do a hospital transfer?

Planning a safe home birth is not only having (and sticking to it) Plan A, but also considering Plan B, C and D.

You will discuss these options with your midwife before the birth, but here are few reasons why you might need a hospital transfer:

  • if your labor isn't progressing
  • if there is meconium in your amniotic fluid.
  • if you have placental abruption (that’s when placenta peels away from the inner wall of your uterus before delivery
  • if you have umbilical cord prolapse (it happens when umbilical cord drops into your vagina ahead of the baby)
  • if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • if you can’t deliver placenta or it's not delivered intact
  • if the baby is in distress (like abnormal heart rate).

When is planned home birth not recommended?

Home births are safe for low-risk pregnancies. We have heard that few times, but what is low risk? What standards do care providers in U.S. follow to call you low or high risk for a home birth?

It is a good question, but unfortunately there is no strict agreement on who is a good candidate for a home birth.

Here are few things that can “disqualify” you from being a home birth candidate.

  • if you are diabetic, have high blood pressure (chronic)?
  • if you smoke or use other illegal drugs
  • if you developed high risk pregnancy (preterm labor, anemia, preeclampsia)
  • if you have heart disease, severe asthma, tuberculosis, 
  • if you had C-section before
  • if you are pregnant with multiples
  • if you give birth before 37 weeks or more than 41 weeks.

However, it's up to you to make a decision. For example, some mothers have successful home births after previous C-sections or there are many safe home twin births. And of course mothers give births at home after 41 weeks and have healthy and happy babies.

Talk to your midwife about your options.

Birthing at Home Video

Show me a mother who didn't watch a home birth video before she went in labor. That's how we get encouraged, empowered, educated and of course that's when we sob (doesn't matter if we watch it before birth or 20 years later). Home birth video is always so warm, unique and very close to heart.

Go to Home Birth Videos to watch categorized videos.

Here is my favorite video of a women birthing at home with the incredibly loving husband. Enjoy!

Share your home birth story (it means a lot to us)

Before mothers decide to give birth at home they read a lot of home birth stories. Here is your chance to help out those mothers by sharing your inspiring and empowering home birth story.

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